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I am having a very frustrating time on The Gibbering Swarm with 4 players. My group did not have a terribly hard time with Adventures B or 1, a few losses here and there but this particular scenario is super swingy. I have failed the scenario a few times now, but what is worse than failing it is how incredibly tedious the gameplay gets. The issue is the Barriers, pulling Demonic Horde twice in a round with a DC 17 monster that destroys weapons and is immune to spells a portion of the time is just really super un-fun. I suppose if we had more Adventure 2 boons it might not be as tricky but since this is the first adventure and is all monsters and barriers there has not been a chance to get any. And then we pull a Arboreal Blight and find that this summon is also dc 17 in addition to the 2 points of auto damage. Yes the characters can beat a 17 somewhat reliably at this point, but only by spending significant resources. If they just pulled a different barrier on the previous turn, or if the random selection hits the same player hard well then some players just lost their whole hand before their turn. And if any of the four gets unlucky? You get to do it all again!

So I can see how we will beat this scenario - dumb luck of not drawing too many summoning barriers when the locations are built. All I have to do is keep trying again and again and not dieing along the way. I know random chance is a big part of these games so this is kind of always the case but here in particular it seems like progress is blocked entirely by luck. The prospect is depressing and un-fun. I'd be much better off just skipping the scenario, but then I might as well just put the box away and forget about the whole thing.

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Are you guys still arguing about this all these years later? The lesson to take from Montes editorials so far is that IT'S A GAME and every book ever published about roleplaying does nothing to diminish every other book about it any more than the advent of Checkers destroyed Chess because they use a similar playboard. The Rules are there to help the game be fun and they can change and change again to try things out. They were not given by yahweh on stone tablets.

4E, Pathfinder, 1st ed they all have their positives and negatives and whatever they come out with next will as well. Play what you like and don't make it some bullshit religious war. Nothing about your identity is defined by the RPGs you play other than that you are probably a nerd for playing one at all.

Everybody on a forum is there to shoot the shit about something they are interested in (or to troll because they are angry about their small genitalia) and that is great, but how about channeling our time into productive topics instead of dragging everything into endless hot-air fests of my-taste-is-better-than-your-taste.

Main Point: Condolences to those who got axed, it is a pain anytime of the year.

MTG Point: They did an amazing marketing job this year by putting out a very good, cheap Xbox360 magic game that totally hooked me back in right as they launched a rev of the basic game and I have bought a lot of cards since. I am SURE I am not the only one. Dunno how many *bleep*-tastic MTG games I have tried but the finally got one close to right. if it supported deck-building I'd be in heaven but I suppose that would threaten the cash cow of magic online.

VTT Point: my regular group has one guy in DC and another in ST. Lois with the rest in Wisconsin. We just use webcams pointing at our playgrid. Not as fun as all being there but if I had to chose from this and doing it all virtual, I would go with the cams since it is much more like a 'normal' dnd game than playing video games together.

Celestial Healer wrote:

One of these days I'll suck it up and buy the software. Anyone know a cheaper way to buy Windows than just getting the cheapest version of Windows 7 off their website?

Yes, you do not need windows 7 and DEFINITELY do not need to pay 'full price' for it. I am running 7 on my main machine but have xp running on my Macbook Pro in bootcamp. If you know someone with a .edu email address (or are that someone) http://www.win741.com/ You can get 7 Home Premium for 30$ as a download that you burn. They seem to realize that students are likely to not be concerned about copyright restrictions, or have 200$ to spend. I know there are non-student deals below 100$ or there were when I last looked.

And of course there are all kinds of thing available on the internet, some unsafe and of dubious legality/morality but I doubt you needed me to tell you that.

In dnd and in computer rpgs I am not a fan of the half-animal races, they just give me a creepy furry-esq vibe. What is sad is that the Dragon guys and shifters have nice stats/abilities the min/max part of me likes but the fluff just turns me way off.

The thing that ruins SoD for me is that my DM is neither a voluptuous elf maiden, a crafty old wizard or a power-mad demon-summoning drow cleric. He's just a chubby guy with a beard. Way to fail dnd!!!!

I am not very experienced in that I have DMd probably 30 sessions but only played one.

That said, as a kid/teen DMing was hard and worrisome. I really wanted to DM and do a good job but I had a lot of trouble working out what the 'right' way to do it was based on 1e and 2e materials. It could be that age has brought wisdom but to me the 4e DMG did a great job of laying out how to be a DM and have a fun game result.

And prep for me is usually 1-2 hours when making my own adventures, less than 1 using the published stuff. You can spend a lot more if you want or if you have more elaborate adventures in mind but it seems pretty optional. My notes going into some games has just been a list of page numbers in the MM and a doodle of the map.

Of course maybe my DMing sucks, but it does not seem to be unpopular so far.

So to the topic, 4e seems pretty DM friendly, after all the PCs get a handful of cool moves, you get 1-10 per monster, every fight. I made some PCs to use as monsters in a gladiator type encounter thinking it would be a real serious challenge but they were actually kind of a disappointment to DM in that they were quickly down to at-wills where a monster would probably be packing more tricks up their sleeves.

Hmm, don't care. I make decently maximized characters, much to my annoyance when one of my pre-gens steamrolls an encounter I am DMing. Still I have never felt any compunction about taking less than 20 in a main stat or taken the very best feat/power at every level. You don't need to.

This is not a computer game where an extra 1% increase in dps can mean the difference between success or failure, it is a storytelling game with a living, breathing Ref to provide a challenge and also to keep things flowing. If your DM is not very tactically minded a very weak character in a decent team will do fine. If your DM is a balls-busting rules nut who overloads his encounters and your teammates are disorganized the most maxed uber character in the world will not help.

As they say around these parts 'Whoopie Dink'. D&D is just as pen and paper after this announcement as before, unless you chose to play it otherwise.

Seriously, sometimes I think gamers must be the most lucky, happy people in the world given how minor the things they complain about are.

Eremite wrote:

I seem to recall that the Feywild part of the book was written by Jon Rogers who, inter alia, was the screenwriter of the Transformers movie.

Dang, I'll try not to think of that while I peruse the book.

Whimsy Chris wrote:

The chaos shards seem more like traps than living creatures (however, they might play well in game).

Yeah the shards made me think that some designer was struggling to think up a new monster while watching Star Trek. And the 'death' one that has little skulls in it? It looked like a promotional item for a metal band.

In general I like the book, the new monsters scan well and I am full of all sorts of nasty ideas about how to use them allready. I was impressed with the depth of the demogorgon section as well. When I saw there was a cockatrice I was glad to read that they can still petrify you. I love all the PC race writeups. Like in any zombie film the only truly evil monsters are the humans, or in this case humanoids.

Here is my pedantic nerdy quibble of the week though: Mushrooms are not plants. Myconids are, and some of their powers relate to effecting plants only. I realize that making an in-game classification specifically for fungi would be silly and pedantic but It still bugged me.

All in all I think MM2 is better than MM1 at first glance, as was the case with the PHBs. Lots and lots of options are open now on both sides of the screen.

The new price is still a good deal imo. And since I had half of a year left on my first subscription I have until nov 2010 for ~100$. Damn good deal and a fraction of what I will pay for paper books/minis etc. in that time.

The thing that does seem iffy is raising the price on auto-rebilling arrangements. I am sure the terms of service allow this as legal but it would be off-putting to see that your bill has gone up without your express consent. Better to stop re-bills if one does not manually upgrade by the cut off date. I suppose that would cost them money from the forgetful who do not pay attention to their subscription though.

Now that I have had it for a while, I really like this book. it is true that you can get most of the player 'bang' from it with a DDI subscription but looking over possibilities and options as broad as these can be inspirational beyond just looking up which power to take next.

I think the DMs role is not only Referee but Director. So if a fight seems to be taking too long I have no compunction to knock off 1/4 the hp on a baddie, especially if it is obvious that the PCs are going to win without too much exciting happening.

For instance recently my PCs were in an arena kind of situation trying to get a key from a green dragon. There were a lot of ways to deal with the problem but they mostly went with beating on it. I knew the next encounter was a little more cinematic so when the Swordmage critted his daily I ruled the dragon was beheaded instead of letting them plow through the last 80 hp. I know some flip about 'dm fiat' but this is an imagination game, make things happen that stimulate the imagination and suppress things from happening that bore.

Now if half the party was down and the players were looking scared I would spin it harder, gotta play it by ear.

If you get it wrong the worst thing that can happen is a fight is too easy, kick their ass next time.

I dunno, maybe I'm a jackass but I think the Dm is doing a lot of the work, if they wanna play game X then their players can say 'ok' or 'no'. If they opt for 'no' then it is their turn to DM and are welcome to the headaches therein.

Seldriss wrote:

I hope you don't consider this the same than an actual magazine you buy in a newstand ?

just a note, the last Dungeon was 130 pages long! I like kicking back with a magazine in the tub as much as the next guy but that is a lot of content which is not limited by paper costs. And that + the char builder for 5/mo? A great deal imo.

I would go bard personally, you can nudge them away from the healer box but still keep your party alive in a pinch. Maybe talk to your dm about making him an alchemist so you can keep your party supplied with healing pots without unbalancing things?

NockerGeek wrote:
Arcmagik wrote:

Vicious Mockery Bard Attack 1

You unleash a string of insults at your foe, weaving them with
bardic magic to send the creature into a blind rage.

At-Will &#10022; Arcane, Charm, Implement, Psychic
So it's generic "bardic magic" causing the damage. Why does it even have the psychic damage type, then? It's not as though there is anything with psychic resistance, immunity, or vulnerability (yet), so

As a for instance, the ooze in keep on the shadowfell is immune to charm and fear, thus this spell would not work on him at all despite not being resistant to psychic damage. The damage type is an important keyword but it is not the only keyword that matters. More common in 4e monster design so far has been resistance/weakness to damage type this is good imo because it does not shut players out of the fight completely and allows exceptional feats (critting a daily etc.) to have an effect where everyday attacks bounce off.

Besides, if it really peeves a DM that monster X is vulnerable to ability Y they can fix that with a swipe of the pen before the game starts. If you players get annoyed that none of their powers ever work that is your problem.

I partially solve this problem with the words "You don't think this seems like a safe place to make camp" But I also design dungeons to have safe rest spots every once in a while. My players still seem to range between waaaay to cautious (The barbarian has never raged for fear of needing his daily later. Not once.) to blowing their dailies on obvious minions when the fight is mostly over and everyone is healthy. But hey, it is their decision.

Galdor the Great wrote:

Please make any comments or suggestions. If someone else has started a conversion along these lines, please point me...

I was thinking about this too. For me the main thing was capturing the feeling of a zombie movie less than the particulars of L4D which a lot of my players play so being too close to the game would give a nice recognition response but probably make it too easy for them once they knew what was going on.

I think I would focus on survival and escape being the only quest. This might be a great option for a 'how the party got together' quest since it is traditional to mix survivors of different backgrounds and class. It would cause the least world-building problems to place it somewhere remote but civilized enough to point out how much everything has fallen apart. Maybe let the PCs visit in better times to meet the fat butcher who is now a boomer or the young village priestess turned witch.

I can't decide what would be a good villain to be behind the whole thing. Governments/Corporations fit with a different world view than d&d and crazed necromancer/magical experiment gone wrong/demonic meddling are kinda old hat. The key to any zombie tale is that the humans are always the real evil so a quick to double cross NPC would be good.

But to your notes:
Why abberations? I agree they are not standard zombies but I think the PCs will feel cheated if all their anti-undead tools happen to fail right when they really, really need them.

I am a little uncomfortable with swarms. They are handy for modeling being covered by beetles etc. but I just don't find them to be fun to play or fight and not particularly scary in practice. I might go with a non-raging minion template for the standard zombies and a pile of raging minions (boosted speed, damage) for the horde. The downside here is if you want the hordes to happen often it can slow down play to be disposing of a lot of them. Also in standard rules you are not going to have 5 of them in one square. Maybe a hybrid minion that takes 2-3 hits to drop, each hit being one zombie in that square? probably unnecessarily complicated.

I did not know you planned on compiling this into one document, excellent work again! I will be starting a new campaign soon and was dithering on what to run, you have made up my mind.

I would play it as an unscrupulous therapist. "Tell me Mr. Beholder, would anyone really care if you were gone? I didn't think so, why not end it all now once and for all?"

Seems pretty interesting to me. I like that they seem to be ramping up the character creation complication level over time while obviously trying to limit the power creep that can come with it. I am sure there will be some broke combination's (more likely to be broke in the negative than the positive) but since this probably won't be in stone till PHB3 they have a while to work out kinks.

On the topic of 'stacking' bonus damage for striker classes, it looked to me like you had to be using a rogue power to use sneak and had to be using a ranger power to use hunters quarry. How does one get around that?

I played a druid back when they had to fight other members of the order to advance, I LOVED that character and was allways deeply saddend when I could not find some open sky to call down some bolts. Before I have rolled upa few characters but was pretty happy to hand them out to my players but now... I really really want to play the druid. I find the shifters a little, well, furryish but I might go gnome or some other fey as a wise caster type. I could also see going human with a wild northman warrior who calls on the spirits to fight, maybe even with a barbarian multiclass element. Maybe I'll call him Logan Ninefingers :)

Ok I have to go play with the char builder!

I thought about them a little bit as I have used printed cards (first from ENworld then from DDI) as long as I have run 4e. I did not buy however as one of the things I like about the DDI cards is that it does all the math for my less gear-head players which I like and it updates as fast as the DDI char gen does.

They do seem quality though, I could see buying some as a player who plays a lot and knows the rules enough to do their own (simple) math.

My main negative is my players always forget they have them. I think one had been used once in 15+ game sessions and that was with a lot of prodding on my part. Maybe if I printed them on little cards..

Stefan Hill wrote:

I would be interested to know the age bracket of those who like/dislike 4th Ed. I am wondering if us older GM's (GMing for some 24 years now) feel 4th ed. is a board-game/RPG hybrid and newer GM's feel that 4th ed. helps control their game by having the clear cut "game board" combat system?

I would be interested to know the average penile girth of those who like/dislike 4e. I am wondering if less well endowed GMs (unlike myself) are more prone to enjoy the "board game" combat system?


Dragnmoon wrote:
donnald johnson wrote:

i have to agree, the character creator is the best ever. for any game system. ever.

I agree... it should be used as the standard for other game companies..the only thing I want added is the ability to convert them to PDF.

Just a note, I found something online for free called CutePDF Writer that lets you print them to PDFs without any loss in quality that I can see. You just chose it as the printer so it does not require a separate application or anything. I assume there are other vendors of similar software as well.

I don't see this power as being any more fiddly and time consuming than other at-wills like marks, aoe spells, debuffs etc. Also once you have a few levels the amount of rounds you use the same at-will over and over decreases.

But I guess it's a matter of personal preference. If a particular player is taking too long to get their turn done whatever their class the DM needs to intervene. What classes are allowed at the table is up to him/her.

So far wizzies have been putting out more than I get around to reading but if anyone has a line on quality (ie, equal or better than paizo or wotc dungeon.) material I am interested.

This is very good work, I only wish I had seen it earlier!

I have only just started looking at it but did you find any problems in translating the smaller 3E encounters into challenging/interesting 4e encounters? I tried my hand at converting some of age of worms but some of the environments and monsters did not seem as compelling in 4e.

Thanks for all the hard work!

I spent some time last week making up a few PCs and NPCs for a one-off game where my players would be facing off against a NPC party in some mystical hoo-ha games in the feywild.

I used the first 'real' release of the DDI character builder and it was pretty slick. They were all 6th level so not terribly complicated to roll up but it was significantly faster than by hand.

1. Auto generated everything. The characters sheets and power cards it built included all the bonuses for each weapon/power/feat combo which made it a lot simpler for the less number-crunchy players to handle the new characters on the fly. In several instances I thought a number was incorrectly calculated but found out that I was the one who was wrong.

2. Quick changes. Easy to try out different builds. really made me wish I was a player!

3. Cheap. 5 bucks seems like a steal for all the powers, items, feats, classes, races from all the books published and Dragon and previews etc. Did I mention that 2 of the PCs were PHBII classes and one a FR class? And chose powers and items from dragon articles I have not gotten around to reading yet? I almost feel guilty, almost.

4. Item shopping. This made choosing gear for higher level PCs much, much faster (and I think more balanced). The window even included the guidelines for item selection by level so I did not have to look it up.


1. Should have been out when the PHB was released. Nuff said. Software dev sucks like that.

2. I noticed some minor bugs. One feat did not seem to be added into a stat, a power seemed to have filler text instead of the real text etc. Nothing that seemed like a big problem to me.

3. No mac support. I did work around this by printing the characters to PDF files so I could send them out but it would be nicer for my players if they could all use the tools and I could run it native on my laptop.

4. Item/power/character info generated is not in a pretty format. There seems to be the possibility for people to take the output and pull it into their templates so hopefully soon the enworld boffins will have some sweet looking character sheets with the nice auto-generated info on them.

Overall I am very impressed. I have not used any of the 3rd party 3E character builders so I can't compare that. I work in software and playing with this I was struck by the number of points of possible failure with this many race/class/power/item/feat combinations. That it works this well is impressive, even if it is late.

I happened to be on amazon looking at some of the new 4e coming up and I noticed the reviews of the PHB and DMG...

It's good to know that all that idiocy is preserved in amber for our children and our childrens children, thank you internet.

I always liked the wild mage from back in the day (not sure my party members felt the same way) so that is exciting. The drqagonwhatever version seemed blah to me but some folks have a woody for anything with dragon in the name it would seem.

It does seem a little more complex but if you play with the wizards DCI character generator that they just released the 'real' version of it gives you auto generated power cards so they can make some powers more interesting and complicated without too much fear that people will be lost.

Also going by what they have said about the DMG2 it sounds like they assume a newbie will buy PHB1 first so things will probably get more gnarly over time. This is good if you ask me, I like funky rules but I also like that they kept it simple at the start.

To answer the OP: People buying 4e products in large enough numbers to make it profitable. The End.

As for DDM, I am probably average in that I bought a lot of minis, did not mind the new rules when they came out but did mind that the new ones were fugly and stopped buying them. I am actually pretty excited about the new sets as I would rather have 1 awesome figure than 8 crummy ones any day. Lets just hope they really are awesome.

I think one thing that was pointed out by all this was that prepainted minis at relatively cheap prices were only possible because of very cheap labor in China and cheap gas to sail them across the ocean. Of course the same thing could be said about RPG books printed overseas. And TVs. And iPods. And everything else we lazy Americans buy.

Edit: guess the thread is ok, still cant use that spoiler button though.

tadkil wrote:

Update: The Dad of my elven Ranger called me up last nght to tell me his son had read the Player's Handbook cover to cover. Eli is not a reader, and his Dad thinks he may be dyslexic. He says D&D is the best thing that has ever happened to his son, in that it is inspiring an interest in school and traditional academic subjects. He is seeing application of basic math skills and finds the chore of reading worthwhile.

And dnd has created another Nerd, thank you Dark Lord! ;)

I have been playing with some lapsed dnders (and one newbie) since 4e came out about twice a month. They are now level 3 and the combats are a bit faster mostly since the PCs are juuuust starting to figure their characters out.

In a recent game the newbie had her paladin down for the count with an ongoing acid thing and several other party members also incapacitated. Her husband noted that if she died she could always roll up another one and she said 'But I really like Louise, I don't want her to die'. To me that's half the battle, getting into the game enough to care about your character.

Personally I don't give a flip about the whole 3.5/4 thing, it's like arguing about any sequel, even the biggest flop piece of junk does not change a hair on the head of it's predecessor. Well except for Star Wars, but he had to work REALLY hard to accomplish that.

But I will say that for some people who had not played since the early 90s it made it easier to get into the game again. And we have fun, which is nice.

I perused some of the links here trying to determine what parts of wotc seemed to be on the block and I was reminded of one thing:

Gamers suck. From the looks of it having anything to do with customer service in this industry is like wearing a sign that reads "Lonely? Strange? Poorly medicated? Take all your frustrations out on me! I'm payed to take it!"

And this is after months of happily playing dnd with my friends. Blech.

I think if you are looking back on your youth and think that you were wise, smart and stylish unlike the kids these days then you are making the same mistake every crusty old 'back in my day..' windbag has made since 10,000 BC.

Seems to me Bees are on fire, why won't someone put out the Bees?

Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:

This is exactly what I've been looking for. Though I'm sort of scared to think what printing this out in full colour, especially on some kind of card stock, would cost.

I started with the race ones and then just the first 5 levels of each class, since Anders cards only have the colored bar that was not enough to use up a cartridge on my cheapo printer. I wanted them to be disposable in that the players could write on them/spill beer on them and it would not be a big deal to print again. The biggest problem is cutting the buggers out neatly. I wish I had one of those big straight edge choppers they had in the high school library.

But yeah, I may need to find a source of cardstock and work very late at the office one evening...

Azigen wrote:
drjones wrote:

Great ideas. Do the sheets have direct links, enworld is banned work.

It looks like he has it as an attachment on his post.

I love the sheets here

It has some power info on the front page but my crew using power cards just ignored that section.

We also use foam stars to represent action points and conditions and pipe cleaners to represent marks/curses.

Aubrey the Malformed wrote:

Why is there still back-and-forth about 4e vs 3e?

A few folks with decent INT but low WIS.

And so the nits were picked long into the night.

Kvantum wrote:
Does anybody else notice the chick at the end's total lack of a belly button?

OMG it all makes sense now, Eve was a DnD Character.

If the definition of 'fully playable' in a RPG is that I can do anything that I want then every RPG ever sold has been a rip off.

But back in the real world if this set of books does not hold what you are looking for then why the f' would you buy it?

So.. the fact that he rolled up some fighters with interesting skills is meaningless because the int bonus is 1 short of your personal preference?

That does seem like nit picking. Or at least missing the point. Especially since you could raise the int and only effect the skills mildly.

Tharen the Damned wrote:

Keep in mind that 4th encounters are designed with groups of enemies in mind.

Well they can be, if a DM wants to only throw single Big Bad Guys at his pcs the math still works, it would just get a little boring.

But for a real world example I just look at the (damage) wizard and the warlock in my game. It is true that the wizard is better at cleaning out the minions but the warlock still really shines after the first few rounds of a fight where the wizard is just magic missileing over and over (and running away) while the warlock is still laying down some heavy smack and getting more and more targets cursed. And they have only faced 1 solo monster, most are 'standard' 4+ enemy encounters. Add in the danger of using aoe when your party is mixed in with the monsters and AOE != better all the time.

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